Ecology Assignment

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  ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS OF URBANISATION By Prudhvi kumar 12-EL-048, Shaker babu 12-EL-041 Anand Lakra 12-EL-040 Joy Gabriele 12-EL-051 U R B A N I S A T I O N What is urbanization? Urbanization is when more and more people move away from country areas and into suburban areas near cities. This leads to cities growing bigger, and more cities being created. In what countries is urbanization happening? All around the world, in developing countries such as Africa as well as developed countries such as Australia.  Why is urbanization happening all around the world? A lot of people cannot find jobs in country areas, so they move closer to a city, where there tend to be many more jobs. In parts of the world, governments spend much more money on cities and suburbs than they do on country towns. This causes people to move to cities and suburbs so that they can have a better quality of life. People who live in the country can feel isolated from the rest of the world. They move to suburban areas so that they feel closer to where the action is . Prices of houses and land are cheaper in suburbs within cities than in country towns. Many people dream of owning a big house that isn't too expensive, and they can do this if they buy a house in the suburbs. Does urbanization harm the environment in any ways? Yes, in many different ways. Wetlands, forests and farming land are destroyed to make way for roads and houses. Smog and air pollution replace clean air because of more and more cars being used.  Noise pollution replaces peace and quiet. Many species of wildlife lose their homes, as they have to compete with people and their pets for space which they used to live in.  Is there anything governments could do to stop urbanization harming the environment? There are a lot of things that could be done. Some of these are: Spending more money on research into a better public transport system. If public transport was cheaper and easier to use, more people would use it to travel from the suburbs where they live to the cities where they work. Less air pollution and noise pollution would happen because of this.  City centers can be made safer, healthier and more comfortable to be in by closing them off to traffic. This would encourage people to live as well as work in cities, meaning fewer people have to travel from suburbs to cities each day. More trees could be planted in cities to provide shade, shelter and a home for birds and small animals. What can you do to help? When you are travelling short distances, walk or use your bicycle rather than asking someone for a lift. Ask your parents to use the telephone and the internet for paying bills, shopping or searching for information. 3 1 The effect of urbanization on nature 3.1.1 Complexity of environmental problems Probably most of the major environmental problems of the next century will result from the continuation and sharpening of existing problems that currently do not receive enough political attention. The problems are not necessarily noticed in many countries or then nothing is done even the situation has been detected. The most emerging issues are climate changes, freshwater scarcity, deforestation, fresh water pollution and population growth. These problems are very complex and their interactions are hard to define. It is very important to examine problems trough the social-economic-cultural system. Even the interconnections between environmental problems are now better known, we still lack exact information on how the issues are linked, on what degree they interact and what are the most effective measures. One problem is to integrate land- and water use planning to provide food and water security. 3.1.2 Overpopulation The major cause of most environmental problems is the rapidly growing human population. About 90 million babies are born each year. At this rate, by the year 2050, global population will reach 10  billion. The current world population is on average very young and has many years of reproductive life ahead. Because of this the population will grow even the fertility rate seems to decrease. The  population growth takes mostly place in developing countries. These countries are in charge of 90  per cent of current population growth. It has been estimated that by the year 2025 even 84 per cent of the world’s people w ill live in developing regions . 3.1.3 Growing demand for food and facilities Due to the growing population, demands for water, food, housing, heat, energy, clothing, and consume goods are increasing alarmingly. Rapid population growth not only lessens available calorie supply from food per person but also risks the present food production with pollution. Increasing demand forces farmers to exhaust the soil or to use marginal land. The only way to  product food to all this population is to create more effective agricultural production. Irrigation is the most important way, because in the future the arable land is not increasing, probably decreasing, due to erosion and land deterioration . At this moment world’s population is 6 billion people. The urbanization is about 50 per cent which means that half of the population is living in the urban areas and the other half in the rural areas. This means that the other half of the population, in rural areas, has to produce the food to the  population in urban areas. Most of the population growth takes place in urban areas, which means more  pressure to the rural people to produce food for the growing amount of urban people.  Growing urbanization means more consumption and need of different products. The production of these needs water and creates more pollutants. In developing countries where the urbanization is occurring most rapidly the technology is not high enough to take responsibility of water treatment and clean production. Many Western companies produce their products in developing countries  because of more flexible environmental law and cheaper production costs. This puts extra pressure on the environment of the developing countries. Problems to food production Plants need water, solar energy and nutrients to grow. Humans can only change few things to help  plants to product more, the amount of water and fertilizer. In the areas where these are needed there is also often uncertainty of water supply and lacking of capital for fertilizers. Water and food availability is closely linked together because of the enormous need of green water. For example, each ton of grain needs 1000 tons of water for successful growth. The quality of water is often threatened in poor areas due to domestic and industrial wastes. Agriculture as well produces numerous side effects to water resources, including erosion, leaching of nutrients, accumulation and wash off of pesticides and heavy metals, increased salinity due to evaporation losses and spearing of various diseases such as schistosomiasis and malaria . Until now the increasing of the fertilizers have helped to produce bigger yields. The population growth is nowadays so fast that increasing use of fertilizers is not enough. The next step in  producing more food will be different crops and irrigation methods, like drip irrigation and water saver plants. 3.1.4 Pollutants to air, soil and water Even the industrialized countries, with higher standards of living and greater numbers of cars,  produce far more air pollution and greenhouse gases than developing countries, they can reduce environmental hazards by using technology such as smokestack scrubbers, emission systems, and wastewater treatment plants. Developing countries do not have this new technology or capacity to do so. The consumption is far lower but the expensive energy-efficient or clean-up technologies are economically impractical for these countries. For these reasons environmental problems occur more often in developed countries. 3 1 4 1 Air pollutants In many cities the air is already so polluted that it has been causing illnesses and premature deaths among elderly people and children. Studies show that disease rate rises when the air pollution level increases. Air pollutants are also harmful for water and environment, for example, by causing acid  precipitation and acidity of waters. Most of the ambient air-pollution in urban areas comes from the fossil fuels industry, motor vehicles, heating and electricity generation. In some cities the main air  polluter is the domestic heating. Many people heat their houses with firewood and cheap coal. This kind of heating method will decrease in the future. Although, new heating methods can be even worse polluters. Instead of carbon dioxide the emissions can include various toxic and carcinogenic chemicals, heavy metals, trace organic chemicals and fibers, photochemical pollutants, lead and carbon monoxide, which are much more harmful to human health. 3 1 4 1 1 Traffic Almost all cities have changed to motorized road vehicles, which has increased the use of fossil fuels and increased greenhouse-gas emissions. This explosive growth in the number of road vehicles is a big problem in many cities. Many city centers have major difficulties trying to cope with the chaotic automobile traffic. The traffic jams are extremely bad in many cities and transport  traffic in the city area at least during the rush-hours is really slow. The pollution is high due to constant traffic and causes respiratory diseases to city habitants. Failed or non-existing urban planning is the main reason for these traffic problems. Rapid  population growth has surprised the capabilities of many cities. Many urban plans have failed in  practice because they have been over-ambitious considering the capabilities. The reasons for this kind of failure include the lack of proper legal and administrative framework, inadequate technical skills and financial resources. Picture 3. 1. Small micro-cars in Jakarta. 3 1 4 2 Water pollutants The lack of sanitation and sewage treatment is the biggest factor regarding water pollution. Local water bodies are used as a dumping ground for untreated water from urban areas or industries. Chemical discharge is also a widespread problem. For example, in Bangkok, 90 per cent of industrial wastes, including hazardous chemicals, are discharged without treatment. On a positive note, many countries have introduced legislation to combat the problem. Many rivers in developing countries are more like open sewers than rivers. Most of the centers in these regions do not have drains or even service to collect the garbage. Fisheries are often damaged and destroyed by liquid effluents from city-based industries. Thousands of people may lose their livelihood, because of a large city situated close to the world’s productive fishing regions. The cities that are close to the coast often dump untreated sewage to the sea. Most of the coastal cities have serious problems with dirty, contaminated beaches and water which is a serious health risk to the  bathers and for the whole city. 3 1 4 3 Solid wastes Solid waste management means proper collection, transfer, recycling and disposal of solid wastes. In many cities the solid waste disposal is inefficient or non-existing. Even more problematic than household wastes are the industrial, hospital and institutional wastes, which often contains hazardous and toxic chemicals, not to mention viruses and bacteria. These chemicals need special care when changing, storing, transposing and disposing them. Still they are allowed to go directly the water bodies from where they can contaminate the whole water cycle. The disposal of the solid wastes is often similar than with the liquid ones. They end up to the illegal dump on streets, open spaces, wastelands, drains or rivers. Sometimes they are collected to the land sites but the protection of water bodies and groundwater is not active. If solid wastes are left in the open spaces, wasteland and streets serious environmental problems will follow. With the rainwater much of this waste ends up swept into water bodies. This can lead to the pollution of ground- and surface waters because of leaching. Solid wastes are sometimes used for landfill but decomposed solid waste can similarly pollute groundwater through seepage,  particularly in humid tropics. This can have enormous health impacts in developing countries where the use of well water as drinking water is common. The garbage combustion creates yet another environmental problem. People want to get rid of the wastes and they burn them in their backyards. The gases produced by burning can cause different respiratory diseases. Uncollected waste spoils also the aesthetic outlook of the city. The volume of per capita of waste is increasing with the income level due to higher consumption. This is a big problem in rapidly growing cities where it is really hard to keep up with the waste  production. In the big cities the daily amount of waste can be enormous and hard to handle. In the lower-income countries the amount of waste is not so big but the problems have more to do with the collection system. The agencies that are responsibility for the collection and disposal of solid wastes are often understaffed and underfunded. Also the lack of equipment, like collection trucks, makes
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